This show, known for the return of the Boss Man and a sterling Stella>Stones>NFA, is in the shadow of the night before. It was that way for me additionally because my AUD ran 3% fast, so I didn't cherish it the way I did the previous show. I had the means to correct this, though it required adding a gen [I only bothered when dubbing for a trade]. The sources still aren't the greatest for an '87, but corrected pitch and EQ will out this show. We had zero knowledge this would be the last show at what was one of the Dead's classic venues. But the scene outside had become untenable to locals (in the village of Morrison below) and officials - this night more than all others (after a couple days of word-of-mouth). Though many of the problems were caused by curious, ticketless teens and guidance-needing TouchHeads, an era was closing.
Also coming to a head was the buzz about Harmonic Convergence, this day becoming a uniform talking point. A nebulous, upcoming event that changed depending on the source, several different flyers papered various windshields during the show. Supernatural claims that mean nothing to me somehow mattered more once I had been on tour a bit too long, because I got lost in it one day for a few hours, before my friends chided me back to ground. Oops. The question you heard all day: Hey man are you gong to Telluride? It's all gonna happen! At this point radio and messaging was actively discouraging people from going. Worries from some quarters. This was around the time I enjoyed goofing on the cops and venue workers. At the snack stand at the top I got a soda or something cheap and, not wearing tie dye or looking like I was a tour rat, the older woman asked me what I thought. I said this is an interesting concert and that I kind of liked this band. "No, I mean the people. Haven't you noticed? They are all on drugs!". I looked over at the nearby spinners and patchouli-soaked wigglers and said, "Oh my god! They are??". "Oh yeah! That's why they're so mellow." Remember, this was at the height of Nancy Reagan's prison-populating/privatization scheme. If people were agitated you blamed drugs. If they were mellow, drugs. If they were neither: drugs, natch.
First Set. We were so psyched to get a Boss Man opener. I ended up catching a few more but at the time it hadn't been played since 4/85. Before that there were two in '84 (1/84, 6/84) and two in 12/81. It plays like a bonus before the Jack Straw opener. The sound wasn't right yet. Note the tapers around Healy yelling at him to turn it up so they can set their levels - and hear the band. Nonetheless, Straw is great: pepped and with Phil bombs (that only partially show up on tape). After Row Jimmy there is a big We Want Phil chant (heard in full only on the mk41_jacobs_miller_clugston). This had become bigger each night and would eventually work (never saw that before). Funny how all the rock bands sang the wrong lyrics to It's All Over Now because the Stones did (Mick heard "held my nose open" as "hurt my eyes open"). Loser is absolutely in the pocket and leads a stretch of pure gravy. Cassidy is all chrome metal corners and, benefiting, Far From Me is comprehensively angelic (much better than Ventura or the Greeks). Phil acknowledges the chanters down front with a Box of Rain. Shaky, with two bungled verses, best thought of as a palate cleanser for the break.
Second Set. Returning with an amuse-bouche of an Uncle John's, I was hoping for a Scar>Fire; but we wouldn't get another one until the next show. Estimated isn't much better, with Bobby monotone and shoes in the dryer. But then it all shifts to technicolor with an unstudied He's Gone. Drums>Space is decent, though not the terra infirma of the last two nights. The first 43sec of Space are cut on the SBD, covered by the beginning on pasternak_81988. The next couple are typical but Stella is indelible. I can still see it: the one that left a mark. Though not a visual band, visuals were commonplace nonetheless. Jer's delivery, the blue light, the intensity, it was overwhelming and this time I truly "got" Stella. On tape it's not 10/3, but still measures against any other '87. The opposite holds for me for Throwing Stones. Not a fave now, at the time I dug the climax of this version; uptempo with a nice jam section. The superb Not Fade Away is very brisk, with top-grade Jer flights. 7/26 was amazing but this is close. The double encore stretches the set to make up for the shortness of the last few sets. Touch, which was suddenly a waited-for song by much of the audience, is solid if generic. Knockin' on Heaven's Door is only the 2nd one (since backing Dylan for his version; first Dead version was 7/6). A friend of mine chose this point in the show to become animated with excitement over song choice. I was still psyched by Quinn the Eskimo from the night before. Maybe it was the cumulative effect of the show, but this was the golden ticket - the moment that put him on the bus.
1st Set: B 2nd Set: B-
Overall = 3¾ stars
Loser/Cassidy/Far from Me - chrome-plated sequence
Not Fade Away - Jer's fascinating flights flow
SOURCES: The suraci_82098 is the preferred AUD (somehow I had this source, a couple gens down). It's been nice to have the SBD: the unknown_7992 remains the clearest. It removes the space in between Drums>Space, but neither SBD patches the [minor] gaps. It runs fast, needing -2% pitch correction, and like most '87 Healy mic-matrices you need serious EQ. Try pushing the upper mids (surrounding 13khz) and dropping the mid-lows (around 320hz). Maybe a matrix will come along.
August 13, 2017 Subject:
Erik, I think this is a healy ultra matrix, hence crowd noise
Healy would blend audience mics in with the soundboard. the weird echo you speak of is the bleed from the onstage mics picking up the natural reflections in the venue. Great stuff.,
December 2, 2013 Subject:
Red Rocks Farewell
You can nit pick sound quality or how crowd noise isn't filtered out. I choose to base my review on the concert itself. Being a young Deadhead fresh out of high school and doing a summer tour before college, I was fortunate enough to score a ticket to what would be the final Dead show at Red Rocks.
What a beautiful venue. The setlist was terrific. As with any Show, the emotions ran high. Laughing and singing, crying, hugging, loving, sharing the kind and dancing. And what is essentially a three song encore....Marvelous!
The crowd noise does not deter the listening enjoyment, but enhances it. It reminds one that the Grateful Dead concerts weren't about sound quality and perfection, but more about hanging out and listening to our favorite band jam out.